United States District Court, S.D. Texas
OPINION ON SUMMARY JUDGMENT
N. Hughes United States District Judge.
Bell Telephone Company is a wholly owned subsidiary of
AT&T. In 1999, Bell employed Beverly Hawkins as a
customer service representative. In 2013, she hurt her
shoulder in a car accident. She took twelve weeks of medical
leave, dating from January 14th through April 12th. Bell gave
her additional leave until June 5th. When she returned to
work, she requested an accommodation to stretch every two
hours that she sat. Bell allowed it.
December 2013, Hawkins asked to leave occasionally during the
day for physical therapy. Bell approved sixteen of the
thirty-two hours per month that she requested. After this,
Hawkins says that her managers treated her "badly"
and "excessively" screened her calls.
February 2014, Hawkins applied for a transfer to the revenue
management department. Bell scheduled her for an interview.
Hawkins notified her attendance manager that she had jury
duty that same day. The company rescheduled her interview for
the day after jury duty. Bell interviewed Hawkins, but she
did not get the position.
in the month, Hawkins asked for a day off to attend her
child-support hearing. The company approved her absence, but
required her to return to work with an excuse signed by the
next day, Hawkins returned to work and submitted the work
excuse indicating that the court releasedher at 5:00 p.m. Her
manager thought the time on the note looked altered so she
called the court clerk to verify it.
clerk said the excuse was signed no later than lunchtime and
court ended around 3:30 p.m. Based on the conversation with
the clerk, her manager concluded that Hawkins changed the
time. Bell suspended her without pay.
then filed an internal complaint for discrimination because
she believed that she was wrongfully suspended. She claims
that younger employees were not required to submit their work
excuses and that the attendance manager never investigated
them. She offers no example of some young person who needed
to be investigated.
March, Bell met with Hawkins to allow her to explain why she
disagreed with her suspension and why it should allow her to
come back to work. At the conclusion of the meeting, Hawkins
was permitted to continue working on a probationary
decisionmaking leave for one year. The company would review
her conduct in six months. Bell warned Hawkins that if she
incurred additional violations, it would fire her.
Hawkins returned to work at the end of the month, Bell met
with her to discuss her internal complaint. Her claims were
filed a charge of employment discrimination with the Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission in May. She claimed
discrimination and retaliation because of her age and
says Bell mistreated her multiple times after she returned
from medical leave. She claims that (a) her managers
interrupted her calls; (b) her managers played music loudly
and danced while she was on the telephone with customers; (c)
the company only gave her an accommodation for sixteen hours
of leave instead of the thirty-two she ...